Back to Basics: Back-to-Sleep, Tummy-to-Play, Keep Positional Plagiocephaly Away
Many parents and caregivers are finding it increasingly difficult to stay up-to-date with the many health advisories, regulations, bans, alerts, and laws regarding their child's health.
Going back to the basics…
The American Academy of Pediatrics Back to Sleep campaign began in 1994 as a way to educate parents, caregivers and healthcare professionals on ways to reduce the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Since the campaign started, SIDS rates have declined by more than 50%. However, a notable concern has also been an associated rise in babies with positional plagiocephaly (flattening of the head).
What is positional plagiocephaly?
Positional plagiocephaly is a condition where the baby’s head develops a flat spot(s) or becomes misshapen due to external pressure to the back or side of the skull. This can also result in irregular development of the skull structure ― ever see a baby wearing one of those helmets and wonder why? Referrals for treatment of cranial asymmetry during the two year period after the AAP’s recommendations increased six-fold compared with the previous 13 years (Kennedy, Majnemer, Farmer, et al., 2009).
What can parents/caregivers do to prevent condition from occurring or getting worse?
In response to this increase, the AAP has published specific guidelines for parents/caregivers to prevent cranial asymmetry related to positioning issues:
- Ensure baby get’s adequate tummy time daily. See tummy time standards from Pathways.org.
- Avoid leaving baby in crib, bassinet, car seat or swing for an extended amount of time.
- Remove baby from crib or bassinet once baby is awake.
- Limit baby’s time in infant equipment such as car seats, swings, and carriers.
- Encourage the use of toys from side-to- side for repositioning and playtime distraction; baby should rotate his/her head from side-to-side.
- Reposition baby from one end of crib to opposite end of crib daily
- Carry your baby in your arms or in a sling (i.e.: babywearing).
Now, it’s your turn to put these guidelines into practice with your baby. If you remember nothing else, remember “Back-to-Sleep, Tummy-to-Play.”
Vince and Sheryl Lake are the founders of Cranial Cradle and previously operated a 6000 sq. ft. childcare center in Maryland. Cranial Cradle’s cutting-edge products ensure babies have a surface to sleep on that may reduce excess pressure to the developing cranium. Like Cranial Cradle on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @CranialCradle